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Extinction and Species Declines:Defaunation in the Anthropocene

Mon, 18 Aug 2014 10:35:52 +0000

We are in the grips of a mass extinction. There have been mass extinctions throughout evolutionary history, what makes this one different is that we’re the ones causing it. A recent review paper from GEE’s Dr Ben Collen discusses the current loss of biodiversity and suggests that our main concerns are species and population declines, […]

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Defaunation in the Anthropocene
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Evolving Endemism in East Africa’s Sky Islands

Fri, 08 Aug 2014 14:16:32 +0000

The World’s biodiversity is not evenly distributed. Some regions are hot spots for species richness, and biologists have been trying better to understand why these regions are special and what drives evolution and diversification. A recent paper by GEE’s Dr Julia Day and recent PhD graduate Dr Siobhan Cox, investigated the diversification of White-Eye Birds […]

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Predicting Extinction Risk:The Importance of Life History and Demography

Mon, 28 Jul 2014 14:46:17 +0000

The changing climate is no longer simply a concern for the future, it is a reality. Understanding how the biodiversity that we share our planet with will respond to climate change is a key step in developing long-term strategies to conserve it. Recent research by UCL CBER’s Dr Richard Pearson identifies the key characteristics that […]

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The Importance of Life History and Demography
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It Pays to Be Different:Evolutionary Distinctiveness and Conservation Priorities

Tue, 15 Jul 2014 13:15:25 +0000

The world is currently experiencing an extinction crisis. A mass extinction on a scale not seen since the dinosaurs. While conservationists work tirelessly to try and protect the World’s biodiversity, it will not be possible to save everything, and it is important to focus conservation efforts intelligently. Evolutionary distinctiveness is a measure of how isolated […]

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Evolutionary Distinctiveness and Conservation Priorities
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Synthetic Biology and Conservation

Mon, 07 Jul 2014 16:20:18 +0000

Synthetic biology, a hybrid between Engineering and Biology, is an emerging field of research promising to change the way we think about manufacturing, medicine, food production, and even conservation and sustainability. A review paper released this month in Oryx, authored by Dr Kent Redford, Professor William Adams, Dr Rob Carlson, Bertina Ceccarelli and CBER’s Professor […]

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GEE / UGI Researcher, Garrett Hellenthal, awarded BBSRC New Investigator Award

28 May 2014

Garrett Hellenthal

The aim of the BBSRC New Investigator Award is to assist newly employed university lecturers, and researchers at BBSRC-sponsored, and certain other research institutes in their first open-ended appointments to obtain their first research grant.

Garrett has received £500K in funding, including a three-year post-doctoral researcher. He will be working in collaboration with GEE Professors David Balding and Mark Thomas, Dr Neil Bradman and researchers from Addis Ababa University, Cambridge and Harvard.  The project entitled "Evolutionary processes shaping genetic structure in Ethiopia and the Sudans" is a three year project that involves genotyping 2,000 individuals (from samples stored at UCL) to learn about the ancestral history of >90 different ethnic/regional groups from Ethiopia and the Sudans.

The project will develop novel statistical methodology to identify which geographical and sociological (e.g. language, religion) features contribute most to genetic diversity -- or act as barriers to gene flow -- among different human groups. The project will also assess genetic diversity in this part of Africa in relation to the rest of the world, helping to dissect the initial migrations of early humans out of Africa when colonizing the rest of the world.

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